ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Former Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani and Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi on Thursday discussed relations between Erbil and Baghdad, including the need to begin a dialogue.
During his visit to Erbil, Nujaifi and Kurdish leader Barzani addressed the current crisis between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government, especially the political future of all the components in Kurdistan and Iraq in light of current developments.
The relationship between the KRG and the Iraqi government has considerably deteriorated following Kurdistan’s Sep. 25 independence referendum.
The historic vote received sweeping support for secession from Iraq, but Baghdad refused to recognize the results and instead responded by imposing collective punitive measures against Kurdistan, including the use of military force in disputed areas.
The KRG has shown its flexibility, offering to freeze the results of the referendum, but Baghdad demands a full annulment instead.
Barzani and Nujaifi stressed that the start of comprehensive negotiations on all the outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad is the only solution to the crisis, a press release following the meeting noted.
Both agreed that “provocative statements or the imposition of force would complicate things,” the press release added.
Nujaifi, one of three Vice Presidents in Iraq, pointed out that the challenges facing both Erbil and Baghdad need to be coordinated between all the components in the country and cannot be a “unilateral decision.”
Kurdistan Region officials have repeatedly expressed their readiness to begin a peaceful dialogue with Iraq to resolve all issues.
However, Baghdad’s approach has been detrimental especially with the use of force during the Oct. 16 takeover of Kirkuk and other disputed areas that were under the administration of the KRG since 2014 when the Iraqi army collapsed.